Diagnostic potential of PTEN-targeting miR-214 in the blood of breast cancer patients

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Aug;134(3):933-41. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-1988-6. Epub 2012 Feb 19.


MicroRNAs play a role in breast cancer development and progression by post-transcriptional repression of the expression of important genes, such as the tumor suppressor gene phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN). The focus of the current study was to examine the diagnostic potential of circulating cell-free microRNAs targeting PTEN in breast cancer. Our analyses were performed on preoperative serum samples of 102 patients with early breast cancer and a subset of 34 postoperative samples, as well as of 32 patients with benign breast disease and 53 healthy women. The relative concentrations of four circulating microRNAs (miR-19a, miR-20a, miR-21, and miR-214) in blood serum were measured by TaqMan MicroRNA assays. Levels of preoperative serum miR-20a and miR-21 were significantly higher in patients with breast cancer and benign disease than in healthy women (p = 0.0001), but only serum miR-214 could discriminate malignant from benign tumors and healthy controls (p = 0.0001) with an area under the curve of 0.878 and 0.883 in ROC analysis, respectively. Moreover, miR-214 levels significantly decreased in the postoperative serum samples (p = 0.0001) as compared to the preoperative samples. The comparison with the clinicopathologic data of the breast cancer patients showed that increased miR-214 levels were associated with a positive lymph node status (p = 0.039). Our data show that circulating, cell-free miR-214 has diagnostic potential in breast cancer as indicator of malignant disease and metastatic spread to regional lymph nodes. Since PTEN is an important target gene of miR-214, this finding could also have potential implications for therapeutic approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis
  • Breast Diseases / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / blood*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics*


  • MIRN19 microRNA, human
  • MIRN20a microRNA, human
  • MIRN21 microRNA, human
  • MIRN214 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human